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Keeping Tabs on Employees’ Computer Use

By Thomasgalvin Subscribe to RSS | March 30th 2012 | Views:

The vast majority of businesses rely on computers and the Internet each and every day. And there are an endless number of legitimate reasons for employees to be using the Internet—from tracking shipments of packages to researching information for a report to communicating with employees in different company locations. The Internet is an integral part of modern-day business.

But with that regular Internet use, there’s also the potential to abuse it. There’s no doubt about it—many employees use the Internet for personal business or just as a distraction during working hours. And social media, like Facebook and other sites, only increase the temptation for employees to abuse their Internet privileges at work.

When considering different solutions, some employers choose to utilize employee Internet monitoring software. This may seem like a logical solution. After all, couldn’t an employer solve the problem using an employee computer monitoring technique? If you’re a business owner or manager that is faced with this problem, you should think twice before choosing this option as a possible solution. It may sound like the answer but, in fact, it can create more problems than it solves.

There are several different versions of employee Internet monitoring software available on the market today, and much of it is considered “spyware.” Think of it: This type of monitoring is extremely invasive. Many times an employer is monitoring employee computer use from a remote monitor, and often the employees don’t even realize that their computer use is being watched. A manager or business owner has to wonder if this is ethical. And employees might very well decide to take legal action against an employer using this type of employee computer monitoring.

Smart Phone Technology

Not only does employee computer monitoring open up the employer to possible legal consequences, it may not even be an effective solution to the original problem. Since the advent of smart phone technology, employees don’t even need to use their workplace PCs to conduct personal business during working hours. They have Internet access—including access to Facebook and other social network sites—literally at their fingertips. It’s obvious that, for many reasons, monitoring an employee’s PC is not the answer.

Choose the Positive Solution

Rather than trying to stop employees from using the Internet for personal business, why not approach the situation from a more positive point of view? The answer is NOT employee Internet monitoring software. The real answer is to measure the number of productive hours each employee spends during the course of the work week. This is a positive, ethical, non-invasive means of determining how employees are using the Internet during working hours.

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